According to the ARRL website,"2019 Field Day will be held June 22-23, 2019. Field Day is always held on the 4th full weekend in June."
What is and Why Field Day?
Ham (Amateur) radio operators pack up their radios and other stuff and head to a park, the wood, the back yard, really anywhere other than in their houses, set up and try to make radio contacts with as many other hams doing the same thing as possible! They take along generators or batteries because they aren't supposed to use normal means to power their equipment, string up antennas in trees or makeshift poles or wherever they can, again because they are not to use permanent installation. The event lasts for 24 hours so some set up tents or other creative housing, build fires or light barbecue cookers and spend the entire 24 hours. Usually all that is done with friends who share the same love of all things radio. All that to see if, in fact, they can do it! Why? Keep reading! :-)
- It's fun! It can combine an overnight camp-out, playing radio and being with friends into one package over a 24 hour period.
- It's an adventure. According to the Miriam Webster online dictionary an adventure is, a) an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks, b) an exciting or remarkable experience, or c) an enterprise involving financial risk. Yes, it is an undertaking: You have to plan for rigs, antennas, power source, shelter, food, water and toilet facilities, some level of agreement and cooperation among friends/participants and then you have to actually set it all up and do it! Danger: Thunder storms, tripping and falling over antenna guy wires, cables, etc., knockdown-dragout's between participants, food poisoning, bad water, skunks, raccoons, bears(?), cougars(?), ruined friendships…. Risks: all the above and then propagation is terrible, generators fail, batteries give out, antennas blow down in the wind, the tent leaks, mic cord breaks, chair gives out.... FAILURE! Exciting, remarkable experience: IT WORKED! A 5000 mile contact using 5 watts. Twice as many log entries as anyone imagined. Friendships are created and strengthened. "Do we have to wait a year before doing this again?" Financial risk: THE TEMPTATION TO SPEND MORE ON NEW EQUIPMENT, ANTENNAS, GENERATORS, BATTERIES, TENTS....
- Finally, to justify the time, expense and seeming foolishness of it all to our families, non-ham friends and community, Field Day demonstrates to ourselves and anyone who pays attention that "we can do it." Should the power fail, buildings collapse, cell phones go down, the infrastructure become disarayed, we ham radio operators could quickly and effectively establish communications with the outside world. Our radios and skills are not just for fun, which they are, but can actually make a critical positive contribution to the world outside our ham shacks if/when needed.
So bring it on! Field Day 2019!!
2019-02-28 The upcoming Field Day is kind of "ever present" in my ham radio mind and I'm constantly thinking about things I need or want to do in preparation for that.
Rig: I'll use my Xiegu x5105 QRP portable HF+6m transceiver.
Antenna: I'm not sure. Too many choices at this point. 35 ft end fed? Trap inverted vee? Link Inverted Vee? End Fed half Wave? Wolf River Coils vertical? Magnetic Loop? We'll see.
Battery power: I've got a 7ah SLA that I can use. I also have several 3-cell LIPO batteries that I use with my electric powered RC planes. AND NOW, as of a day or two ago, I have a Bioenno Power 4.5 Ah battery. Again, we'll see!
Housing: if we do Field Day again this year as last, we'll be at our RC Flying Club field which has a porta-potty and pole shed, but no other facilities. So will I use my hammock again? Tent? Come home and sleep in my own bed? One more thing to contemplate!
Food: too early to plan!
But first we need to get rid of the foot or so of remaining snow and enjoy some temperatures above the teens for a day or two! 'Till then we dream, and spend time and money on ideas we likely won't end up using!
2019-02-19 A post on Facebook reminded me that now is the time to begin planning for that. The questions are, where? what? and how? And the big question most ask if they care at all is WHY? So, since here in southeast Wisconsin the snow is still 18 inches or more deep, the temperature was about zero last night and even now in the bright mid morning sunshine is only 17, AND another 1-3 inches of snow is forecast for overnight tonight, WHY is a really about the only question one can answer definitively right now!